Saddleback Leather Company is taking criticism from Christians and non-Christians alike for a suggestion on their Facebook page Sunday evening. The suggestion appears to be controversial — it’s received about the same number of “likes” and disagreeing comments. What did they suggest? That next year, a campaign should be mounted to force waitstaff to say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” by giving more generous tips to those who offer the more exclusive well-wish.
Sunday evening, Saddleback Leather Company posted the following on its official Facebook page.
“It’s too late this year but next year I’m going to promote this idea and see who will join with me. I’m going to be an especially generous tipper though out the month of December ONLY to the waitresses and waiters who say “Merry Christmas” and I will tip normal to those who only say “Happy Holidays”. If we can get that horrible political correctness out of our system when it comes to Christmas then the world will be a better place.”
After the negative feedback began to flow in, the post was edited to also include the following.
“There is nothing wrong with not celebrating it. Hanukkah, for example, is a wonderful holiday. If I were in Israel, I would wish everybody I met with “Happy Hanukkah” all day long, even though I don’t celebrate it. Is there a problem for rewarding a waitress for taking a stand for what she believes in when I believe in it too?”
Not many commenters seemed to support the idea, though.
“Wow… Lost a huge amount of respect for Saddleback for this one. People are different, inclusion is not negative, don’t withhold generosity for service people based on your arbitrary tastes.”
“That is really really petty. Unlike Saddleback. Think it though and I think you will realize it. Can you imagine Jesus acting in that petty manner. Merry Christmas, but really rethink this.”
“Are you aware that Jews are still a thing? It’s not a PC thing, it’s a “Most major religions have a holiday in December or January, and I don’t want to run down a list of them until we arrive at the one you celebrate” thing.”
It’s the time of the year for the annual “war on Christmas,” in which the idea is spread that Christianity and/or Christmas are under attack when non-Christians and non-Christmas holidays are treated equally and inclusively, and it sounds like this year, Saddleback Leather has joined the trend.
Customers are responding, though, with posts to Saddleback’s page. There are requests for instructions on returning a Saddleback product (“My atheist money must be disgusting to you”), suggestions for other companies to shop instead, and simple pleas to change their stance.
Please take down that post regarding tipping and Christmas. It is not a good witness to the non Christians who love your stuff. This type of speaking is fuel to the negative stereotypes that are driving people away from the church.
It only remains to be seen whether Saddleback Leather Company will listen to the customer base and rethink their stance.
Update: After a day’s worth of feedback, Saddleback CEO Dave Munson has amended the status.
“Dave here. I want to apologize for offending people by what I wrote in this post. I should have thought about it more before I quickly posted it. What I wrote was interpreted differently than what I intended. I hope you will forgive me for this.
This was not a religious post nor was it a post about tipping anyone less for not valuing what I value. This was about tipping people more. I’d like to thank everyone for your replies to this post. I’ve learned some things from you all and I believe I’m a better man for it.
I guess there’s a bright side to all of this. I now know that people are actually reading my posts.”
[photo credit: Zadi Diaz ]